An elliptical machine is a pretty outstanding alternative to the old standby known as the treadmill. Jogging on a treadmill is a little dull. The same can be said of walking and running. Treadmills are a bit bland and, worse, they come with risks to the joints of the person working out on one.
An elliptical training employs motions very similar to cross country skiing. For someone who never worked out on an elliptical trainer, the experience of exercises on one can be new and invigorating. Well, things will feel this way until they don’t.
As is the case with a treadmill, working out the same way on an elliptical trainer does get a little dull. The newness wears off after a while. The cool thing about an elliptical machine is the workouts can be tweaked and changed. Doing so positively could lead to more interesting and productive workouts.
Changing Workouts for the Body
Boredom is a state of mind. Cutting down on boredom is not the only reason for making a change to an elliptical training session’s workout strategy. Variations of different workouts help develop the body to the maximum degree. The right workout needs to be selected in order to yield excellent results. Beginners should engage in a workout most appropriate for them. More experienced fitness fans should select workouts that help them continually challenge themselves and overcome plateaus.
Thankfully, unlike other pieces of exercise equipment, an elliptical machine is versatile. So, changing up workouts as needed is possible.
The Beginner Plan
As any personal trainer will point out, beginners do need to take it easy when they start out on their workout programs. Beginners are best served slowly working their way into a fitter and more active lifestyle. Working out too hard too soon often leads to trouble. Overtraining could be the unfortunate result of doing too much.
A really well made elliptical machine can tailor a workout program to the skill level of the user. On an elliptical trainer, a beginner may invest in short workouts designed to complement current conditioning and fitness levels. Changing in workout levels — up or down — can be made as needed.
One thing worth highlighting here is an elliptical trainer does support a full body workout since legs and arms are both engaged thanks to the foot rests and the arm handles.
Full body workouts, as opposed to specialization or split-training, seem to be preferred by a number of fitness professionals and trainers. Beginners may benefit from the full body approach an elliptical trainer provides.
Super Long Workouts
Working out on an elliptical trainer for 45 minutes or one hour is not for everyone. Those who are already in excellent physical conditioning and wish to burn up a massive amount of calories do like these types of exercise sessions. Since an elliptical trainer pulls in muscles in both the upper and lower body, a one-hour workout ends up being more beneficial than working out on more lower body-exclusive devices.
Hour-long workouts can be made a bit more exciting through altering the speed and incline. Working up to the increased duration and intensity and not rushing into both would be a prudent decision.
Targeted Lower Body Workouts
Although an elliptical machine is designed to support a total body workout, there are ways to stress certain areas of the body more than others. This is where the aforementioned incline comes into play. Changing the angle on an incline setting may assist with hitting the glutes and hamstrings more, which is just what some may want.
Targeted workouts do help those who feel they are suffering from lagging body parts. Not everyone realizes that switching up the incline on an elliptical can support such a cause leading them to believe only free weights are the solution.
Free weights do have their benefits, but cardio machines are often preferred by some. An elliptical machine might be the most preferred device for those interested in an upper and lower body workout mix.
Treadmills do have their issues, which is why not everyone likes to workout on one. Still, there are some benefits to a treadmill workout, but leeriness about running on a treadmill is a stumbling block for many. Interestingly, an elliptical trainer can be used in a similar way to a treadmill by just not engaging the handlebars.
The smooth nature of moving the legs on an elliptical trainer likely appeals to those who want to avoid the bouncing and pounding on a treadmill — big drawbacks to treadmill workouts. Leg-only elliptical sessions can still be good for burning calories and helping with cardiovascular endurance. Sometimes, using the elliptical trainer in this manner assists with shaking up a workout to a decent degree.
Combining Workout Equipment
Who said that only one type of cardio exercise equipment can be used during a single workout session. Mixing and matching are perfectly acceptable. Doing so may help alleviate the aforementioned problem of boredom in the gym.
Instead of spending 20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes could be spent on the stationary bike and another 10 minutes on the elliptical. Doing so could help with stressing different muscles, which may enhance a workout. And who would not want to get the most out of a workout session? People perform workouts to get results.
The Classic Interval Training Session
Interval training is wildly popular among cardio enthusiasts for a simple reason: it works. Interval training employs a very simple concept. Lower effort is performed for a set duration followed by set duration of higher intensity. Walking for one minute followed by jogging for one minute and repeating the process for 15 minutes is an example of a very simple interval training workout.
High-intensity interval training has gained a lot of popularity due to its enormous stamina building and calorie burning potential. High-intensity interval training, however, is very difficult to perform. For many, such strenuous workouts are not even really necessary. Even light interval training is likely to deliver desirable results.
Finding the Best Workouts
Trial and experimentation are required for those who wish to get the best workouts on an elliptical machine. Switching up workouts to discover which ones are the best for particular needs and goals should lead to desired results. No one should be interested in rushing progress since this approach never works. Instead, focus on being consistent with training and note what particular types of workouts are giving the best results.